Ashvaghosha's Awakening of Faith in Mahayana

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Ashvaghosha's Awakening of Faith in Mahayana

Postby sraddha » Sun May 31, 2009 3:56 pm

Mahâyâna-çraddhotpâda-çâstra (Discourse on the Awakening of Faith in the Mahâyâna),

here is a translation every Buddhist should definately read!

http://www.sacred-texts.com/bud/taf/taf16.htm

The term Mahâyâna here seems not to have been used as it usually is in contrast to the Hînayâna. Açvaghosha adopts it simply to denote the greatness of suchness (bhûtalathatâ) as well as to prove its being the safest and surest means of salvation.


So a follower of the Mahayana is one who believes in the greatness (Maha)of the Buddha vehicle(yana) as a means to ultimate salavation!
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Re: Ashvaghosha's Awakening of Faith in Mahayana

Postby sraddha » Sun May 31, 2009 4:05 pm

What is the Mahâyâna? It is the essence (core, heart, soul)1 of all sentient beings (sarvasattva), that constitutes all things in the world, phenomenal and supra-phenomenal; 2 and through this essence we can disclose what the Mahâyâna signifies.

Because the essence in itself, involving the quintessence of the Mahâyâna, is suchness (bhûtatathatâ), but it becomes [in its relative or transitory aspect, through the law of causation] birth-and-death (samsâra) in which are revealed the quintessence, the attributes, and the activity of the Mahâyâna.

The Mahâyâna has a triple significance. 3

The first is the greatness of quintessence. Because the quintessence of the Mahâyâna as suchness

p. 54

exists in all things, remains unchanged in the pure as well as in the defiled, is always one and the same (samatâ), neither increases nor decreases, and is void of distinction.

The second is the greatness of attributes. Here we have the Tathâgata's 1 womb 2 (tathâgatagarbha) which in exuberance contains immeasurable and innumerable merits (punya) as its characteristics.

The third is the greatness of activity, for it [i.e., Mahâyâna] produces all kinds of good work in the world, phenomenal and supra-phenomenal. [Hence the name Mahâyâna (great vehicle).]

[Again this Dharma is called the Mahâyâna;] because it is the vehicle} 3 (yâna) in which all Buddhas

p. 55

from the beginning have been riding, and Bodhisattvas 1 when riding in it will enter into the state of Buddhahood.
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Re: Ashvaghosha's Awakening of Faith in Mahayana

Postby thornbush » Mon Jun 01, 2009 2:49 am

http://www.ymba.org/BWF/bwf73.htm#AwakeningofFaith1
There may be some disciples whose root of merit is not yet mature, whose control of mind is weak and whose power of application is limited -- and yet who are sincere in their purpose to seek enlightenment -- these for a time may be beset and bewildered by maras and evil influences who are seeking to break down their good purpose.

Such disciples, seeing seductive sights, attractive girls, strong young men, must constantly remind themselves that all such tempting and alluring things are mind-made, and, if they do this, their tempting power will disappear and they will no longer be annoyed.
Or, if they have visions of heavenly gods and Bodhisattvas and Buddhas surrounded by celestial glories, they should remind themselves that these, too, are mind-made and unreal.
Or, if they should be uplifted and excited by listening to mysterious Dharanis, to lectures upon the paramitas, to elucidations of the great principles of the Mahayana, they must remind themselves that these also are emptiness and mind-made, that in their essence they are Nirvana itself.
Or, if they should have intimations within that they have attained transcendental powers, recalling past lives, or fore-seeing future lives, or, reading others' thoughts, or freedom to visit other Buddha-lands, or great powers of eloquence, all of [these] may tempt them to become covetous for worldly power and riches and fame.
Or, they may be tempted by extremes of emotion, at times angry, at other times joyous, or at times very kind-hearted and compassionate, at other times the very opposite, or at times alert and purposeful, at other times indolent and stupid, at times full of faith and zealous in their practice, at other times engrossed in other affairs and negligent.

All of [these] will keep them vacillating, at times experiencing a kind of fictitious samadhi, such as the heretics boast of, but not the true samadhi. Or later, when they are quite advanced [they] become absorbed in trances for a day, or two, or even seven, not partaking of any food but upheld by inward food of their spirit, being admired by their friends and feeling very comfortable and proud and complacent, and then later becoming very erratic, sometimes eating little, sometimes greedily, and the expression of their face constantly changing.

Because of all such strange manifestations and developments in the course of their practices, disciples should be on their guard to keep the mind under constant control.
They should neither grasp after nor become attached to the passing and unsubstantial things of the senses or concepts and moods of the mind. If they do this they will be able to keep far away from the hindrances of karma.
Namo Amitabha Buddha!
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Re: Ashvaghosha's Awakening of Faith in Mahayana

Postby thornbush » Mon Jun 01, 2009 2:54 am

http://www.ymba.org/BWF/bwf73.htm#AwakeningofFaith2
Next, suppose there is a man who learns this teaching for the first time and wishes to seek the correct faith but lacks courage and strength. Because he lives in this world of suffering, he fears that he will not always be able to meet the Buddhas and honor them personally, and that faith being difficult to perfect, he will be inclined to fall back.

He should know that the Tathagathas have an excellent expedient means by which they can protect his faith: that is, through the strength of wholehearted meditation-recitation on the Buddha [Amitabha], he will in fulfillment of his wishes be able to be born in the Buddha-land beyond, to see the Buddha always, and to be forever separated from the evil states of existence.

It is as the sutra says: "If a man meditates wholly on Amitabha Buddha in the world of the Western Paradise and wishes to be born in that world, directing all the goodness he has cultivated toward that goal, then he will be born there." Because he will see the Buddha at all times, he will never fall back ... [If a cultivator follows this path], he will be able to be born there in the end because he abides in the correct samadhi.
Namo Amitabha Buddha!
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Re: Ashvaghosha's Awakening of Faith in Mahayana

Postby dumb bonbu » Mon Jun 01, 2009 9:26 am

great stuff, thanks sraddha! :twothumbsup:
Although I too am within Amida's grasp,
Passions obstruct my eyes and I cannot see him;
Nevertheless, great compassion is untiring and
illumines me always.
- Shinran


Namu Amida Butsu
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Re: Ashvaghosha's Awakening of Faith in Mahayana

Postby sraddha » Mon Jun 01, 2009 11:56 pm

:thanks:

http://www.sacred-texts.com/bud/taf/taf27.htm


Another question presents itself here: If all Buddhas who are in possession of infinite expediencies (upâya) can spontaneously benefit all beings in the ten quarters, why is it that the latter cannot always see Buddhas in person, or witness their divine transformations, or hear their instructions in the Doctrine?

The reply is: Tathâgatas are really in possession of those expediencies, and they are only waiting to reveal themselves to all beings as soon as the latter can purify their own minds. 1

When a mirror is covered with dust, it cannot reflect images. It can do so only when it is free from stain. It is even the same with all beings. If their minds are not clear of stain, the Dharmakâya cannot reveal itself in them. But if they be freed from stain, then it will reveal itself.


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Re: Ashvaghosha's Awakening of Faith in Mahayana

Postby sraddha » Wed Jun 03, 2009 12:14 am

Here's a beauty, read and reread!

http://www.sacred-texts.com/bud/taf/taf22.htm

Though all modes of consciousness and mentation are mere products of ignorance, ignorance in its ultimate nature is identical and not-identical 4 with enlightenment a priori; and therefore ignorance in one sense is destructible, while in the other sense it is indestructible.

This may be illustrated by [the simile of] the water and the waves which are stirred up in the ocean. Here the water can be said to be identical [in one sense] and not-identical [in the other sense] 5 with the waves. The waves are stirred up by the wind, but the water remains the same. When the wind ceases, the motion of the waves subsides; but the water remains the same.
p. 68
Likewise, when the mind of all creatures which in, its own nature is pure and clean, is stirred up by the wind of ignorance (avidya), the waves of mentality (vijñâna) make their appearance. These three [i.e., the mind, ignorance, and mentality], however, have no [absolute] existence, and they are neither unity nor plurality. 1

But the mind though pure in its essence is the source of the awakened [or disturbed] mentality. When ignorance is annihilated, the awakened mentality is tranquilised, whilst the essence of the wisdom remains unmolested. 2
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Re: Ashvaghosha's Awakening of Faith in Mahayana

Postby sraddha » Thu Jun 04, 2009 12:09 am

Understanding sunyata and asunyata:
http://www.sacred-texts.com/bud/taf/taf21.htm

Again there is a twofold aspect in suchness if viewed from the point of its explicability.

The first is trueness as negation (çûnyatâ), 1 in the sense that it is completely set apart from the attributes of all things unreal, that it is the real reality.

The second is trueness as affirmation (açûnyatâ), in the sense that it contains infinite merits, that it is self-existent.

And again by trueness as negation we mean that in its [metaphysical] origin it has nothing to do with things defiled [i.e., conditional], that it is free from all signs of distinction existing among phenomenal objects, that it is independent of unreal, particularising consciousness.

Thus we understand that suchness (bhûtatathatâ) is neither that which is existence, nor that which is non-existence, nor that which is at once existence and non-existence, nor that which is not at once existence and non-existence; that it is neither that which is unity, nor that which is plurality, nor that which is at once unity and plurality, nor that which is not at once unity and plurality. 1

In a word, as suchness cannot be comprehended by the particularising consciousness of all beings, we call it the negation [or nothingness, çûnyatâ].

The truth is that subjectivity does not exist by itself, that the negation (çûnyatâ) is also void (çûnya) in its nature, that neither that which is negated [viz., the external world] nor that which negates [viz., the mind] is an independent entity. 1

By the so-called trueness as affirmation, we mean that [as soon as we understand] subjectivity is empty and unreal, we perceive the pure soul manifesting itself as eternal, permanent, immutable and completely comprising all things that are pure. On that account we call it affirmation [or reality, or nonemptiness, açûnyatâ]. Nevertheless, there is no trace of affirmation in it, because it is not the product of a confused subjectivity, because only by transcending subjectivity (smrti) can it be grasped.
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Re: Ashvaghosha's Awakening of Faith in Mahayana

Postby Will » Sat Mar 22, 2014 7:35 pm

From Abe's introduction to the 2006 reprint of Hakeda's 1967 translation:

Grounded firmly in the tradition of Buddhist meditative insights,
the Awakening of Faith boldly posits as the ultimate reality the minds
of sentient beings in their everyday existence. That is, “emptiness,”
“Dharma,” “nirvana,” “Buddha,” and all other Buddhist ideals derive
from sentient beings’ ordinary state of mind; and this mind is described
in the text as tathagatagarbha, the matrix that engenders all perfectly enlightened
beings.
To illustrate this point, the text makes use of various
similes and metaphors. A good example of the text’s poetic dimension
is the image of ocean water and wind fusing with each other (pp. 46–
47, 58–59). Ocean water, the mind, is constantly agitated by wind, ignorance,
the source of all sorts of delusions and attachments. The wind
gives rise to waves and currents in the ocean. But, however hard the
wind disturbs the water, the water never loses its intrinsic qualities.
When the wind ceases, the water manifests its inherent nature. It remains
clear and pure. As the surface of the ocean becomes calm and placid, the
water naturally turns itself into a great mirror, another powerful
metaphor in the text (pp. 52–53), which reflects all its surroundings as
they truly are.
That is, sentient beings are deluded not because they lack
the nature of enlightenment but, on the contrary, because they do not
recognize or trust the enlightening qualities that they already possess.
One should refrain from biased judgments and doubting in fathoming the Buddha and the Dharma of the Buddhas. Even though a dharma may be extremely difficult to believe, one should nonetheless maintain faith in it. Nagarjuna
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Re: Ashvaghosha's Awakening of Faith in Mahayana

Postby Will » Sat Mar 22, 2014 7:51 pm

I take refuge in [the Buddha,] the greatly Compassionate One, the
Savior of the world, omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient, of most excellent
deeds in all the ten directions;
And in [the Dharma,] the manifestation of his Essence, the Reality,
the sea of Suchness, the boundless storehouse of excellencies;
[And in the Sangha, whose members] truly devote themselves to the
practice,
May all sentient beings be made to discard their doubts, to cast aside
their evil attachments, and to give rise to the correct faith in the Mahayana,
that the lineage of the Buddhas may not be broken off.


The Invocation translated by Yoshito S. Hakeda. He also comments some, based mainly on Fazang.
One should refrain from biased judgments and doubting in fathoming the Buddha and the Dharma of the Buddhas. Even though a dharma may be extremely difficult to believe, one should nonetheless maintain faith in it. Nagarjuna
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Re: Ashvaghosha's Awakening of Faith in Mahayana

Postby Will » Sun Mar 23, 2014 7:28 pm

I noticed that Dharma Master Chi Hoi has a partial commentary at his website. http://en.bwlh.org/index.php?id=137

Does anyone know if that work was completed in printed or e-book form yet? If not - when?

I see no email contact for the monastery in San Francisco.
One should refrain from biased judgments and doubting in fathoming the Buddha and the Dharma of the Buddhas. Even though a dharma may be extremely difficult to believe, one should nonetheless maintain faith in it. Nagarjuna
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Re: Ashvaghosha's Awakening of Faith in Mahayana

Postby Will » Thu Apr 03, 2014 9:38 pm

Here is some of Master Chi Hoi's translation and commentary:

Generally speaking there are two perspectives of Mahayana. What are the
two?
The first is Dharma. The second is meaning. What is called Dharma is the
mind of sentient beings. This mind constitutes all the physical and mental
events (dharmas) of the secular world and for transcending this world. The
meaning of Mahayana is revealed through this mind. Why is that? It is
because the inherent true thusness of the mind reveals the embodiment of
Mahayana. The inherent originating and ceasing of the mind from karmic
causality reveals the embodiment, as well as, the characteristics and application
of Mahayana.


The previous section explains the motivations of this discourse. Now,
this section establishes the fundamental theme: one mind, two gates, and three greats.
Together, these represent the name and meaning of Mahayana or "Great Vehicle."
What is called Dharma is the embodiment of the great overall aspect of the entire
objective world. It is the very formation of Mahayana, and the heart of Buddha
nature (Tathagata-garbha). This Dharma is equally contained in all sentient beings.
Its very name is established according to the mind of sentient being. Thus, what is
called Dharma is the mind of sentient beings
is where the Dharma originates. This
mind constitutes all the physical and mental events (dharmas) of the secular world
and for transcending this world:
The physical and mental events of the secular world
are the events of the six realms of the uninitiated. Because there are life and death
due to karmic deeds and consciousnesses, this mind encompasses these events.
The physical and mental events transcending this world are the events of the four
noble truths for enlightenment. This mind embodies all-equal true thusness,
therefore it encompasses all these events. The meaning of Mahayana is revealed
through this mind:
The meaning of Mahayana, or Great Vehicle, is revealed
through the mind because the mind contains the three greats.
One should refrain from biased judgments and doubting in fathoming the Buddha and the Dharma of the Buddhas. Even though a dharma may be extremely difficult to believe, one should nonetheless maintain faith in it. Nagarjuna
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Re: Ashvaghosha's Awakening of Faith in Mahayana

Postby WuMing » Mon Apr 07, 2014 1:28 pm

here are two very illuminating studies on the Mahāyāna Śraddhotpāda Śāstra 大乘起信論 by Ashvagosha, generally known in English as Awakening of Faith in the Mahāyāna (Taishō. Vol. 32, No. 1666).

The Essence-Function Formula as a Hermeneutic Device: Korean and Chinese Commentaries on Awakening Mahāyāna Faith by Park Sung-bae

Wonhyo’s Faith System, as Seen in His Commentaries on the Awakening of Mahayana Faith by Park Sung-bae
今以佛眼觀之佛與眾生同住解脫之床。無此無彼無二平等。
Now, observing with the eye of the Buddha, both the Buddha and ordinary beings are in the same liberated state. There is neither this nor that: there is only non-duality and identity.
- 空海 Kūkai 弘法大師 in Unjigi 吽字義 The Meaning of the Letter Hūṃ
new translation: Kūkai on the Philosophy of Language by Takagi Shingen and Dreitlein Eijō
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Re: Ashvaghosha's Awakening of Faith in Mahayana

Postby Will » Mon Apr 07, 2014 4:36 pm

Very helpful WuMing! I am looking forward to Wonhyo's commentary, which will be translated. When and by who, I do not know.

viewtopic.php?f=41&t=15963
One should refrain from biased judgments and doubting in fathoming the Buddha and the Dharma of the Buddhas. Even though a dharma may be extremely difficult to believe, one should nonetheless maintain faith in it. Nagarjuna
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Re: Ashvaghosha's Awakening of Faith in Mahayana

Postby Will » Mon Apr 07, 2014 9:07 pm

Will wrote:Very helpful WuMing! I am looking forward to Wonhyo's commentary, which will be translated. When and by who, I do not know.

viewtopic.php?f=41&t=15963


Thanks to Google it looks like Professor Park is the translator, as well as head of the Wonhyo translation Project. I just wrote him at Stony Brook about when this great work will out.
One should refrain from biased judgments and doubting in fathoming the Buddha and the Dharma of the Buddhas. Even though a dharma may be extremely difficult to believe, one should nonetheless maintain faith in it. Nagarjuna
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Re: Ashvaghosha's Awakening of Faith in Mahayana

Postby WuMing » Tue Apr 08, 2014 4:46 am

Will wrote:Thanks to Google it looks like Professor Park is the translator, as well as head of the Wonhyo translation Project. I just wrote him at Stony Brook about when this great work will out.


that sounds great Will. Thanks for your effort to find out more about the translation project. I'm looking forward to the translation of Wonhyo's commentary on this treatise as well. Please let us know here if you find out more about this translation project, in generall, and the commentary in particular. That would be great!
今以佛眼觀之佛與眾生同住解脫之床。無此無彼無二平等。
Now, observing with the eye of the Buddha, both the Buddha and ordinary beings are in the same liberated state. There is neither this nor that: there is only non-duality and identity.
- 空海 Kūkai 弘法大師 in Unjigi 吽字義 The Meaning of the Letter Hūṃ
new translation: Kūkai on the Philosophy of Language by Takagi Shingen and Dreitlein Eijō
_______
Our life is very simple, very direct, very beautiful, very vast and very terrifying, but it is not at all convenient.
- Anzan Hoshin Roshi
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Re: Ashvaghosha's Awakening of Faith in Mahayana

Postby Will » Tue Apr 08, 2014 5:03 am

This is overpriced, but a valuable translation by Vorenkamp of Fa-tsang's commentary:

viewtopic.php?f=97&t=15709
One should refrain from biased judgments and doubting in fathoming the Buddha and the Dharma of the Buddhas. Even though a dharma may be extremely difficult to believe, one should nonetheless maintain faith in it. Nagarjuna
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Re: Ashvaghosha's Awakening of Faith in Mahayana

Postby WuMing » Tue Apr 08, 2014 1:32 pm

Professor Park mentions in his book Buddhist Faith and Sudden Enlightenment his Ph.D. Dissertation on Wonhyo's Commentaries on the Awakening of Faith in Mahayana.

I made a query on the interlibrary loan here, but they don't have access to it, unfortunately. Maybe it is available in the US.

see here at WorldCat for further details
今以佛眼觀之佛與眾生同住解脫之床。無此無彼無二平等。
Now, observing with the eye of the Buddha, both the Buddha and ordinary beings are in the same liberated state. There is neither this nor that: there is only non-duality and identity.
- 空海 Kūkai 弘法大師 in Unjigi 吽字義 The Meaning of the Letter Hūṃ
new translation: Kūkai on the Philosophy of Language by Takagi Shingen and Dreitlein Eijō
_______
Our life is very simple, very direct, very beautiful, very vast and very terrifying, but it is not at all convenient.
- Anzan Hoshin Roshi
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Re: Ashvaghosha's Awakening of Faith in Mahayana

Postby Will » Tue Apr 08, 2014 4:09 pm

WuMing wrote:Professor Park mentions in his book Buddhist Faith and Sudden Enlightenment his Ph.D. Dissertation on Wonhyo's Commentaries on the Awakening of Faith in Mahayana.

I made a query on the interlibrary loan here, but they don't have access to it, unfortunately. Maybe it is available in the US.

see here at WorldCat for further details


Yes, it is available in USA, even Amazon.de sells it.
One should refrain from biased judgments and doubting in fathoming the Buddha and the Dharma of the Buddhas. Even though a dharma may be extremely difficult to believe, one should nonetheless maintain faith in it. Nagarjuna
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Re: Ashvaghosha's Awakening of Faith in Mahayana

Postby WuMing » Tue Apr 08, 2014 8:59 pm

Will wrote:Yes, it is available in USA, even Amazon.de sells it.


Sorry for the misunderstanding. I did not mean the book. I have the book myself. I meant his Ph.D. Dissertation on Wonhyo's Commentaries on the Awakening of Faith in Mahayana which I can't access here.
今以佛眼觀之佛與眾生同住解脫之床。無此無彼無二平等。
Now, observing with the eye of the Buddha, both the Buddha and ordinary beings are in the same liberated state. There is neither this nor that: there is only non-duality and identity.
- 空海 Kūkai 弘法大師 in Unjigi 吽字義 The Meaning of the Letter Hūṃ
new translation: Kūkai on the Philosophy of Language by Takagi Shingen and Dreitlein Eijō
_______
Our life is very simple, very direct, very beautiful, very vast and very terrifying, but it is not at all convenient.
- Anzan Hoshin Roshi
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